The Northumbrian Rapper Sword dance is a unique tradition from the North-East of England. The dance was originally performed by miners in the pit villages of Northumberland and County Durham, but is now performed worldwide. It is performed at speed by a team of five people continuously linked by flexible swords called rappers, which are weaved in and out of figures for display.
The award winning Newcastle Kingsmen Sword Dancers specialise in the Northeast’s exciting rapper sword dance tradition. Their main dance is fast and flamboyant and is designed with live audiences in mind. Having started as a team in 1949, the Kingsmen have been one of the greatest influences in maintaining and developing this unique style of dance.
In addition to this, the Kingsmen can also perform other styles as part of their full show. They perform the Grenoside Sword Dance – a more measured, ceremonial dance which builds to a climactic finish.
For bigger spaces, the Kingsmen perform the processional Royton dance. Originating from England’s Northwest Morris tradition, Royton makes a big impact – colourful, noisy, larger than life.
In recent years the team has enjoyed a growing involvement in clog dancing. The perfect accompaniment to rapper and sword dancing, this is a showcase for some of the finest foot-work in the Northeast.
So there you have it – whether you need a flash performance of five minutes or a full show of around forty-five minutes, indoors or outside, the Kingsmen can meet your needs.
Star and Shadow Rapper are the sister team to the Newcastle Kingsmen and a newer addition to the North East's rapper scene since 2007. The team perform various rapper sword dances ranging from the traditional 'Westerhope' dance to the highly creative 'Gin' dance which takes audience members on a whirlwind tour through the team's favourite beverages in sword dancing form!
Star and Shadow can inject flare and excitement to your event with clog dance displays and energetic rapper. Watch the film below to see Star and Shadow competing in the annual Dancing England Rapper Tournament with their new dance celebrating the team's 10th anniversary!
Grace Smith is a clog dancer, originally from Teesside. Having graduated from Newcastle University's Folk and Traditional Music degree with First Class Honours in 2015, she has been performing and teaching across the country ever since. She has been influenced by a range of different clog dance styles, as well as writing her own steps and routines to add to the wealth of traditional repertoire. Grace has taught clog dancing in a variety of settings, including Folkworks Summer School, Sage Gateshead, primary and secondary schools across the country, festivals and on a one-to-one basis.
In addition to clog dancing, Grace plays fiddle, and performs with Monster Ceilidh Band and The Rachel Hamer Band, as well as solo and with other projects.
Grace can offer solo clog dance performances, with an instrumental accompanist, and is happy to discuss the which material will best suit your event.
Grace can also lead clog dancing workshops, for any age range, on an individual or group basis.